Ex-NFL Star, Cosmopolitan Triumph in Casino Worker Legal Battle

Posted on: March 19, 2024, 09:33h. 

Last updated on: March 19, 2024, 08:47h.

A panel of judges largely sided with The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and former NFL player Richard Sherman in an appeal brought by a casino employee. The case stemmed from Sherman allegedly cursing at the woman on the gaming floor.

Richard Sherman
Richard Sherman, pictured above. The former NFL star was sued by an employee at The Cosmopolitan. (Image: Oxeia Pharmaceuticals)

Tonya Hale, who continues to be a table games supervisor at the gaming property, was unable to get the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to overturn a lower federal court ruling on her case, according to a decision released on Monday.

During the incident, Sherman swore at her after she enforced the casino’s betting limits policy.

On Jan. 10, 2018, Sherman tried to circumvent a betting limit rule by giving money to those in his “entourage” to place bets for him. Hale explained he could not exceed betting limits.

The two wound up having a heated argument. A month later, Sherman and Hale had a second argument at the casino over the same issue.

Threatens Her Job

In her case, Hale claims Sherman allegedly “harassed and repeatedly verbally assaulted Hale, by … yelling and screaming at her, berating her, using profanity towards her and others, making gender discriminatory comments to her and threatening her job.”

Mother f***er, f**k I’ll have your job, you don’t tell me what to do,’” Sherman allegedly yelled at Hale at one point during the dispute.

After hearing the case, a lower federal court mostly sided with the casino and Sherman. It partially dismissed Hale’s claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress against her. It also ruled for a dismissal of summary judgment regarding claims there was a hostile work environment, and that retaliation was taken against her.

Hale appealed the lower court ruling and after hearing the case, the appeals judges agreed with the lower court on the intentional infliction of emotional distress issue. A majority of the judges ruled there was no extreme or outrageous conduct, which they said was a requirement for her to prove her case.

When it came to the summary judgment issue about the hostile work environment, Hale claimed she “was harassed because of her sex/gender.”

The appeals judges rejected her claim that The Cosmopolitan allowed Sherman to harass her because of her gender without doing anything about it. The judges said the harassment didn’t reach a sufficiently severe level, as required under the law.

The appeals judges explained that a casino guest’s use of profanity directed toward an employee didn’t lead to a workplace that is “permeated with ‘discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult’ that is ‘sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create an abusive working environment,’” according to the ruling.

The appeals judges also basically rejected retaliation claims.

Nightmares, Depression

Because of the incidents, Hale said she has suffered crying attacks and embarrassment, has felt violated, experienced nightmares, was unable to sleep, and felt indignity, humiliation, nervousness, tension, anxiety, and depression, according to her court filings. Hale is still employed by The Cosmopolitan.

Following a college career at Stanford University, Sherman played 11 seasons as a cornerback in the NFL, including for the Seattle Seahawks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was named All-Pro five times.

In 2018, Sherman entered the daily fantasy sports business with a company called Daily Number.

On February 24, Sherman was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence in Washington State. The case is pending.